When I think of the words 'Japanese food', there's a handful of things that automatically come to mind and I'm sure you have no choice but to agree:
- So excruciatingly expensive! Excuse me, are those my limbs walking down to the register?
- Can you say, annoyingly tiny portions for this Westernized stomach?
- The fanciest of cuisines to have ever graced the Earth. Think Zen. Untouchable. Mr. Miyagi.
- Could never make sushi at home because what about e.coli? I can't touch raw fish (unnecessary secret: I actually love touching raw meat and fish)
- But despite all of the above, why is it so dang delicious that I can eat it everyday for the rest of my life?
Sometimes I eat an amazing sushi meal at a restaurant, then come home slightly weeping inside because I just want all the sushi. The thought of making sushi is kind of daunting at times, I must admit. Well, unless you're daring like our lovely Sarah or the Bojon Gourmet, in which case I am neither. Or unless you make the "knock-off" fishless Korean version--which really is blasphemy to classify as sushi to begin with, both to Japanese and Korean culture.
But what do you know? I had one of theee greatest ah-ha foodie moments I've had in a while, the time when the girls and I ate onigiri (or omusubi) at Sunny Blue during the bachelorette. These little balls--or should I say triangles--of rice and spicy salmon are so magical because who knows what they laced them with. In all seriousness though, I did the math after taking an intent look at the ingredients and the fish was probably the most expensive item in the meal. So I couldn't think of a better ingredient to use other than canned salmon! The fish by itself definitely tastes like it's been packaged, but the addition of spice and ponzu sauce takes the flavors up to a whole new (and fancy) level.
Hmmm yes....I can totally do this, I thought. And man, am I glad to share this with you. Make it into a bento style meal, a plate filled with colorful little appetizers, or as the main course paired with side dishes and you're good to go. That is until a few hours later when you keep having to go back and pick at it whilst standing by the fridge. These too-cute-to-eat triangles are extremely simple and fuss free, meaning that kids and adults alike enjoy them for their taste and colorful aesthetics, so why not make your own?
Spicy Salmon Onigiri or Omusubi
Makes approximately 6-8 triangles || Highly adapted from Just One Cookbook
2 cups uncooked sushi rice (or any short sticky kind)
2 1/2 cups water
water in a bowl for moistening hands
4-5 sheets of unseasoned nori
One 14.75 oz can of cooked salmon
1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp ponzu sauce
2 tsp furikake rice seasoning plus extra (any flavor)
3 tbsp seasoned roe (found at Asian markets)
1/4 cup mayo or Miracle Whip
Start by rinsing off the rice starch. Cook the rice with the 2 1/2 cups of water in a rice cooker, if possible. If you don't have a cooker, you can just use the stove and a large pot while making sure to stir it often. Allow a little bit of cooling before you start the assembling process.
Cut the nori sheets in half going down vertically (the long side). Now grab a medium mixing bowl and mash the salmon so there aren't large chunks left. Add Sriracha, sesame oil, ponzu (makes it slightly sweet and tangy), furikake flakes, and incorporate thoroughly. Set aside.
Wet your hands with water in the bowl and take about a medium fistful of rice. Start to shape roughly into a ball and with your palms and fingers press gently to form a triangle. Place a spoonful of the salmon mixture on one side of triangle and a bit of seasoned roe and shape it so it's somewhat flat and not messy. Cut a tiny whole in a ziploc bag and fill it with mayo. Take the rice triangle and place it in the middle of the cut nori. Fold in half and pipe on a little bit of mayo. Sprinkle with more furikake and serve onigiri immediately! Do not make these ahead of time or they will harden and nori will be soggy.
Best onigiri flavors or versions you've ever tried?